US Targets Taliban, 30 Afghan Forces Killed in Afghanistan

 
4 March 2020

“It is fragile–if the Taliban are not going to lower violence.” said Miller, “that causes a risk to the agreement.”

The US forces conducted an airstrike against Taliban fighters in Nahr-e Saraj, a district of the southern province of Helmand on Wednesday, a spokesman for US Forces in Afghanistan, Col Sonny Leggett, tweeted on Wednesday.

The airstrike is the first in 11 days, said Leggett. All sides had agreed to a Reduction in Violence (RIV) plan starting on February 22 that was aimed to create conditions for peace and a permanent ceasefire.

The attack took place one day after Gen. Scott Miller, commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, warned the Taliban to keep their commitments.

“It is fragile–if the Taliban are not going to lower violence.” said Miller, “that causes a risk to the agreement.”

He said there is a need for the Taliban to lower violence in Afghanistan “otherwise, it’s hard to have an agreement.”

The Taliban resumed attacks on Afghan forces as President Ashraf Ghani at the same time refused to release 5,000 prisoners before the beginning of the intra-Afghan talks, which were planned for March 10.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump had a telephone conversation with the Taliban’s deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar on Tuesday evening, Qatar time, said Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid.

Trump said: “The relationship is very good that I have with the Mullah, and we had a good long conversation today. And you know they want to cease the violence–they’d like to cease the violence also.”

But as Trump and the Taliban hold civil talks, 30 Afghan forces and four civilians have been reported killed in 15 provinces of the country.

16 out of 30 Afghan forces were killed in Kunduz province and six others were killed in Uruzgan province.

“After the Taliban attacks, the Afghan security forces attacked the Taliban to defend themselves and the people of Afghanistan. 17 Taliban were killed and 11 others were wounded,” said Nusrat Rahimi, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior.

Reactions were strong about the Taliban attacks on Afghan security forces, especially following the signing of the peace deal with the US.

“Allah banned the killing of Muslims. The Taliban should talk to the government as they did with the US,” said Mawlawi Siddiqi, a religious scholar.

“The intra-Afghan talks are the only way forward. The problems can be solved like this,” said Sayed Abdul Malik Hashimi, another religious scholar.

The Taliban have not commented about the attacks yet.

The US targeted the Taliban following a successful Reduction in Violence (RIV) week that started on February 22, in which all sides respected the terms and violence was greatly lessened, even in the most dangerous and volatile areas like Sangin, Helmand; Andar district, Ghazni; and Chak in Maidan Wardak.

US Targets Taliban, 30 Afghan Forces Killed in Afghanistan